Saturday, July 13th
There's a market happening, with one square entirely taken up with food, fruit, vegies, things that I don't recognize; while nearby there's clothes stalls, and bread. Anything. Slightly tempted by a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt, and the BB handgun might be useful against the dogs in Spain. But, I refrain.
There's a lengthy queue at the cheese van, and there's delicious smells from some other stalls.
In a bar, having a coffee, and there's a TV on. Music clips. Some reggae, but now George Michael, but it's a cartoon George Michael. It seems very political, George W and Tony B and the Queen are cartoons as well, but whatever. it's now Brandi and Monica, whoever they are, but apparently The Boy Is Mine, and the boy in question looks like a sleazebag.
Outside the Office d'Tourisme. It opens at 10:00
Moved to the alcove outside the bookshop, la librarie, opposite, and bought a Saul Bellow novel, Ravelstein, from the small range of English titles they had. It's beginning to look like rain. Glad not to be walking, I'd be panicking.
And yes, it was worth waiting for the Tourism Office to open, as yes, they did have a guide to the town in English. Alright then, let the wild tour begin!
the Champollion Musee, waiting for the video to start, Probablaire won't
understand a word.
Don't care. It's started.
And it was briefly sunny. Stepped out of the Champollion Musee into sunshine, but it didn't last long, The French also have the trick of being not only appropriately dressed for whatever the weather is at the moment, but also have the knack of being able to produce umbrellas from somewhere.
A look into the 'Histoire de Figeac', entry free, and the chick behind reception looked so elegantly, infinitely bored.
Saw the huge Rosetta Stone, then the old church, closed for renovations, reopening in probably a few mere centuries from now.
I'm in my favourite cafe, the Cafe Lorrain, having my second coffee for the day. Two euros, don't care. I'm feeling good. Whenever I step outside, it begins to drizzle, as though God is aiming for me. May as well stay in here. The people in here seem real, Figeac types.
On the steps of the bandstand in the Place de la Raison. It's been alternating between slight drizzle and blasts of sunshine. Spent 15 minutes at the Cyber-K. It's a nice place, the guy showing me how to find the tilde key on a French keyboard, but, when I needed it, couldn't make it happen. Oh well.
Other backpackers are beginning to arrive, some taking a break here.
The place is beginning to grow on me. Figeac, that is, although I don't feel entirely comfortable here, although I don't feel entirely comfortable anywhere. Doesn't matter.
Just wandering. Around, found l'eglise that was open. Then to the top of the zig-zag walk, the view down, then along one of the main streets. This seat is adorned with graffiti, and obviously Jenny Per is quite popular around these parts, and somebody, maybe Jenny herself, has offered tu baise pour 1 euro, although non oublier tu, and veux beaucoup mons. Better look up what that means.
Meanwhile, at Delta Video, Reece Witherspoon is La Revanche d'une Blonde, and Harry Potter 2 is Á l'École des sorcieres. And Chopper is Le Grande Criminiel Australien.
More wanders, seem to have spent the day just wandering. First, following the 'keys to the city' tour map, but gave up after the Musee Champollion. Found seats you don't have to buy something to sit at outside the Notre Dame le Puy, the one that's being renovated. There's something on tonight, posters for some kind of pique-nique, with fireworks to end it all, beginning at 7. Don't know if my understanding of the poster is quite right.
Back down to the main town, I think I found the antique shop that so delighted Andrea Kirkby, and yes, it was full of stuff, tempted by this and that, in fact, the longer I was in there, the more tempting stuff became. I had to leave. Old furniture, could've been a little difficult in the backpack; paintings, cups, saucers, plate sets and more.
Looked into the second hand bookshop, and yes, I guess if you were fluent in French you could easily have become quite excited by what was on offer. Victor Hugo's by the truckload, other French authors, histoire, geographie, archeologie, musiques, and the antique postcards organized by type.
Then out, to a whatever they call the equivalent of a newsagency, maybe it's a papeterie. I'm not sure. Magazines for every taste, but I can't read any of them anyway. Doesn't matter.
I think I've seen every touristy bit here; the Musee Champollion, the huge Rosetta Stone, the eglises, the buildings that date from every century since the 10th, even seen the city walls near the football ground, it's cobbled streets, sampled coffee in a couple of nice places, used the Cyber-K twice, seen people that remind me of other people, looked at postcards but refrained from buying any, even looked into the real estate windows, checking out the possibilities for any cute little cottages just out of town, but bejaysus, even the cottages are over 600,000 euros. Think I'll give them a miss this time.
And there was a gig, a huge pique-nique in the street, with the food stalls serving cheeses, and cuts of strange-looking meat and aligo by the tubload, and sweets, and the alcohol tent was doing really well. Again, felt like an outsider unable to participate.
Listened to Banda Auvergne, something like a 20 piece (maybe more, didn't count 'em), loose trad jazz combo crossed with a brass band. They were good, the drummers were great, and there was one goddess type in the saxophone section.
Image taken from
But then the reggae band started, up on the stage. So I left, don't mind reggae, but the lyrics I couldn't understand. Not even the promise of a folk-rock band appealed, I'd heard them at the sound check anyway.
Tomorrow's Bastille Day. I'm wondering if that means everything will be closed.
11:00pm, I think,
Fireworks. Bastille Day.